Opinion: Keep the Placer County board seat on our side of the Sierra | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Keep the Placer County board seat on our side of the Sierra

Dear fellow North Lake Tahoe voters: As reported in the local newspaper, Michael Babich will oppose Jennifer Montgomery in the June election for the District 5 Placer County Board of Supervisor seat.

I do not intend to disparage the very impressive credentials of Mr. Babich. He has a PhD in Biomedical Sciences (Pharmacology), served in the military, is a current faculty member of the UC Davis Department of Internal Medicine, and is co-founder of Mission Therapeutics, a local biotech company aiming to develop new cancer treatments.

He is well published in technical journals and in the regional media — most recently taking a position on compensation for public employees.

But this is not about the qualifications of either candidate, though these and their positions on the matters facing us must be considered in any final choice.

The issue with Mr. Babich that I think we should all consider is local representation. Mr. Babich lives in Auburn. The Roseville-Auburn area is already very well represented on the Placer County Board of Supervisors, with 4 of the 5 seats totally within that corridor.

Only District 5 extends to the foothills of the Sierra and over the summit to the North Lake Tahoe area.

Most readers of the Sierra Sun are aware there are numerous, substantive issues facing the local communities within the North Tahoe area, and over-development is only one of them.

It is precisely for that reason that I, for one, would like to have someone on the Placer County Board of Supervisors who lives in, and is sensitive to the issues of, our local area.

I want to have someone reliably speak up for our area. I want to have someone who will make sure that the extraordinary revenue generated from our TOT and other taxes returns to our area.

We do not want it supporting projects west of the summit. Lord knows, we have plenty of uses here for that revenue — with housing, traffic, transportation and jobs high on the list.

So, whether you applaud the positions that Jennifer Montgomery has taken over the years, or have disagreements with them, know that she lives in our area, her husband works in our area, she is familiar with our issues, and she advocates for our interests.

We will not, in any way, be better served by having a fifth person on the Placer County Board of Supervisors who, because of the District 5 population density, would prioritize the Auburn-Roseville area over Lake Tahoe.

We clearly need that seat to stay in the hands of someone from Eastern Placer County.

Please consider these thoughts when casting your vote in June.

David Stepner is an Olympic Valley resident.

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